Australians won’t quickly forget how much COVID has changed their lives. We’ve altered the way we shop, and many small business owners have had to change the way they operate to survive.
One thing has become clear through all of this: having an online presence is more important than ever!
Changing online shopping habits
With restrictions and social distancing guidelines implemented across the country, it is no surprise that 2020 has seen record-breaking statistics in the online shopping world.
The Australia Post ‘Inside Australian Shopping update – September 2020‘ reports that August was the biggest month in the nation’s online shopping history. Our activities surpassed last year’s pre-Christmas peak, with online shopping going up 8.9% on this period.
Victorians shopped up a storm whilst abiding to Stage 4 restrictions: their August online purchases jumped 21.2% on July’s figures.
More Aussies have started shopping online; with over 8.1 million households shopping online between March and August 2020. This is a whopping increase of 16% on last year’s figures. Also during this time, over 900,000 new households made their first online purchase.
April saw the biggest rise in new shoppers: over 200 thousand households! 67% percent of these continued to shop online, and a quarter now shop twice or more per month.
The cafe and restaurant sector have moved online
Eating out with family and friends is a big part of Australian culture, and although the social aspect has gone, many of us still want fine dining.
Many restaurants and cafes have adapted to the changes by moving onto platforms like UberEats and Deliveroo. Chief executive of Deliveroo Ed McManus said that a week after the bans were introduced in March, 1,700 restaurants joined their platform.
Many other business owners have had to ‘pivot’ to survive. When a business pivots, they quickly move to a new model to enable short-term survival with long term gains. One example is St Ali cafe in South Melbourne. Founder Salvatore Malatesta got into online groceries, distributing face masks and even started manufacturing sanitiser.
Even large well known companies have had to pivot during these times. Music streaming service Spotify relies heavily on advertising for revenue. As advertisers reduced their budgets during COVID, Spotify had no choice but to look at new products they could offer. They’ve had success with podcasts, where users reportedly uploaded over 150,000 in one month!
Businesses who had an online presence pre-COVID have managed to keep customers or even grow their customer base. Many who jumped online quickly are weathering the storm. With Aussies discovering how easy it is to shop online, it will be interesting to see if the new habits continue to rise.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt through this global pandemic, it’s how quickly we as a nation can respond to a crisis, as well as adapt to the ‘new norm’.